London Property Market and Real Estate Guide

(London, England, UK)

London is Europe's star city. Lively day and night, it is served by five international airports, is big in theatre, fashion, music and shopping, and attracts all types of people from all areas of the world.

The UK capital has some of the hottest and most expensive real estate in the world - in particular in the West End and western and northern districts. While buying here is likely to set you back considerably, property prices in London generally outperform other markets in the UK.

While the likes of Mayfair and Park Lane are the domain of a select few, there are deals to be had on homes and apartments in other areas of the city like up-and-coming Clapham, ethnic Brixton and suburban Hampstead, with no restrictions on foreign buyers.

Renting Serviced Apartments

London has the most expensive serviced apartments in the UK, and possibly in Europe barring the likes of Monte Carlo. That said, they are cheaper than comparable hotels and are usually located near to tube stations.

The newer apartment complexes in inner London and around the Docklands / Canary Wharf come with all modern facilities, including kitchens and wireless Internet, and often have extras, like swimming pools and fitness suites. Leases for serviced apartments in London are usually six-monthly, although you can often negotiate on weekly stays. Finding serviced apartments is best done through an estate agent.

Buying Apartments and Houses

It makes more sense to buy in London than anywhere else in the UK, since the cost of home and apartment rentals can be prohibitive in high-profile London areas. Anyone planning on a permanent or extended stay may find it more economical in the long run to invest in a city property, yet non-EU nationals may face problems in securing a mortgage.

There is a fantastic array of apartments and houses in all areas in the city, ranging from the pricey central London to the cheaper districts of South and East London, where costs can be half the price and not that much higher than in other UK areas.

Foreigners can buy without hassle in the UK, although fees for solicitors, council tax and maintenance can be high. You may also have to pay a stamp duty, depending on the property value. The higher the property value, the higher the tax, which goes from zero percent up to four percent.

Real Estate Agents

London has all the big real estate agents and some of them have grown into virtual brands. While the big ones generally offer excellent service and have a massive number of properties on their books, there is also a large collection of smaller firms that offer tailoring for particular areas.

Competition among estate agents in the capital is high and some offer extras, such as taking on the solicitors' fees, or perhaps gym membership for apartments. It is easy to seek them out online.

A few examples of London real estate agents:

Hoxtons Properties
Address: 114 Hoxton Street, Hoxton, London, England, UK
Tel: +44 0207 613 0161
Situated in the north of London, Hoxtons is one of the top London real estate agents and features comprehensive services in residential sales and lettings.

Foxtons (Canary Wharf)
Address: Unit 2, 20 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, England, UK
Tel: +44 0207 133 7777
Foxtons has literally thousands of homes and apartments on its books in London and Surrey.

Winkworth UK (Clerkenwell office)
Address: 67 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, London, England, UK
Tel: +44 0207 405 1288
Winkworth is popular at the top-end of the London property market with several offices in the city. They specialise in flats for sale in Hammersmith, Kensington, Notting Hill, Pimlico, Westminster, St. John's Wood, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and South Kensington, amongst other popular city locations.